Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mark's Field and Combat Training

It's kind of hard to tell whether or not I really see Mark in these pictures, but it doesn't matter if they're really him, they look enough like him that I can assume it is!

Above, I think that's Mark in front, second from the left. Below, it could be him fifth from the right. They are receiving their Infantry Badges.

We may be seeing half of Mark's face if that's him behind the window frame of the hummer.
And just maybe that's him on top of this one!

Monday, May 23, 2011

How-To Make Fun Shaped Crayons

First of all, collect crayons from a school teacher friend at the end of the school year. Then sort and peel your crayons. Slitting the paper with an exacto knife works well but I don't have one so I just used a veggie peeler to get them started. They can be time consuming so enlist the help of the kids or use evening times when you settle into a favorite movie!

Crayons can be melted into any shape of your choice, you just need a mold. Round crayons are easy to do. These may be done in lightly sprayed muffin tins or on a cookie sheet with unsprayed foil muffin cups. Place in a preheated 250 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.

Allow them to cool to room temperature before removing from foil. Trim any rough edges with a paring knife. Foil may be reused for the same color if you're careful.
White plastic sucker molds (not the clear chocolate ones!) can also be used in the oven if you place an old kitchen towel folded in half on the cookie sheet and put the candy mold on top of it. Lightly spraying the mold with pan spray will make cleanup easy, which I forgot to do!
Place it in the oven at 250 degrees for 20 minutes.
No need to worry about the place for the stick. When the crayon has cooled to room temp, you can lift the crayon out of the mold and simply break it off.
These are some of my old crayons in addition to the new ones. I prefer molds that are thick and have a point, for obvious reasons, but the kids really liked the teddy bears and candy canes.

So there you have it! Crayons that you don't have to premelt and try to pour while hot! If you wish to swirl the colors, carefully stir them once or twice with a popsicle stick just after you take them from the oven. By-the-way, those sucker molds can take candy temperatures up to 350 degrees. Be sure not to put them directly on metal. Because they can take higher temperatures than you need for this activity I think they'll do this over and over again just fine if you follow
these simple guidelines.

And above all, have fun!!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

An Ordinary Sunday

This has been a very emotional day for me. On this Sunday last year I spent many hours in surgery at the Intermountain Medical Center for Trauma patients, receiving my bone transplant. I vividly remember how much I just wanted to be able to go to church here at home, and today, I could.
The Sacrament Meeting talks were on the restoration of the Priesthood. I pondered how much help I have received personally because of Priesthood blessings, most recently from David, Mark and Julio Carrillo. Also it was a sweet thing to see Mark able to answer the call for a Priesthood holder to come and give a blessing to someone there who he didn't even know - which happened several times over my stay in Utah hospitals.
After being out of teaching Seminary for a whole year now, I was able to teach a lesson in Primary, and then tonight David and I attended Seminary Graduation. How I have missed Seminary and teaching! I've said for many years now that if I spent my entire life as a teacher at church I would have had the best and happiest callings EVER! If I never got called to be in an administrative position, it would sure be okay by me! Teaching the Gospel is my most favorite of all callings, and I got to today.
What a comfort to be able to be at home, attending church in my own Ward, with my Tulare 1st Ward Family on just an ordinary Sunday. I love it!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Still Celebrating Life

I suppose we all take a turn asking ourselves, asking God, that ageless and universal question, "Why me?" Only this time I'm asking because when we were in our car accident we were protected. We not only survived but remained here with good quality of life ahead. But last week, Gary White, the eldest son of Carol and Curt White, died in a motorcycle accident. So my question then, is "Why was he taken while we remain?" Today is the funeral. I will meet Gary's family. He is survived by his wife and children. He will miss being here for the day-to-day activities as well as the big events. I know how it feels to miss our little Garret's birthday party, Graduation Day for my Seminary Class, an Eagle Court of Honor, spending quality time with family and several other events that were very important to me. How I ached to be there with them but I was in the hospital.
People will say at times like this that "We don't know why. It was just their time to go." But I find comfort in Gospel teachings and my own brush with death. And actually, we do know why.
We know that this life is not the end, that it continues almost without interruption, as we move to another place. I was able to see that because the judgement day isn't upon us, the Spirit World is simply another school, with some teachers, and some students. Heavenly Father wants us back! For the benefit of our progression, sometimes going there can be more effective than being here. After all, we still have the agency to accept or reject. Or maybe it is for us to teach.
Our Father in Heaven has a great, and warm heart! He loves us so very much that he gives us experiences that will bring us to Him. Death is one of those experiences. He also always works in multiples, meaning that there is always more than one reason for the trials/blessings in our lives, with trials actually being the greater of the blessings.
We also know that those who have gone before us, and those who are coming later, can and do come here to help us. We receive valuable blessings from those on the other side of the veil, so they aren't altogether taken from us.
With the Millennium still to come, we will have marriages taking place and the raising of children going on, and in the very BEST of circumstances! Imagine raising children in a place where you don't have to lock your doors, where they will never get sick in the night, and no one will tempt them with evil. Truly a reward for any who haven't married yet or had children of their own!
I miss my Grandmas. They have all passed away. But I lovingly think of them, knowing that they can see me, hear me, and visit me at anytime. I never feel alone, I feel loved. I never feel spied on, I feel supported. I know I fall short and that they are aware of it, but that they understand and are there to help strengthen me, helping me to do better.
It's a grand and glorious plan! I'm so grateful that I know these truths. And so, even though today we will gather in mourning, our sweet Heavenly Father will bind the broken-hearted, and gather His little ones to Him, if they will come.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Celebrating Life!

With Monday being the anniversary of our spared lives, we decided to do a little celebrating. We went out for dinner, Mexican food specifically, to a place we've never gone. Chilitos. It's like a Mexican version of Applebees. Dinner at the hospital was quiet and over time became quite tiring, but going to a fresh new place? That was great! The food was good, the atmosphere a little noisy, but it was still very nice.
Then we went to Home Depot for some vegetable seedlings to add to our little garden. We didn't get to do a garden at all last year so this year is a time to make up for it. We usually seem to get in over our heads with weeding and watering and all that goes with raising living things and I want this year to be better. I decided to put much of our garden into pots and planters by the back door where they'll get sun, be convenient for watering by me and not convenient for watering by the neighborhood cat, and have little or no problem with weeds. I really hope this works out and that the plants have enough root space. The summer squash and pumpkins will be in the ground for the sake of their roots but I think they're the only ones. Oh! I forgot until just now that Chandler was hoping we'd do some corn, so maybe we'll be adding that, but I think that's our limit.
So here's to life! May we make the most of the time we have while we have it. An old Irish proverb goes like this:

"Dance like no one is watching;
Sing like no one is listening;
Love like you've never been hurt;
And live life every day as if it were your last."

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pajama Pants And Television

I didn't do much at the trauma center but rest. I visited with family and friends a bit, had tests done, had a couple of surgeries (bone transplant along with some wires, and a halo put on), had tubes put in, had tubes taken out, and, well, you know, all the stuff they do in hospitals.
But after they took me to Healthsouth, I started doing more for myself. There are a couple of things that take me back there and help me to sort through it with the kindest remembrances, though.
1. I learned to love wearing pajama pants, which was something I never thought I'd like to do. But I've found them to be warm, soft and comforting. (And modest.)
2. I watched Pride and Predjudice many times since I already loved it so much and it was the featured movie for the month of June. I also had some fun remembering shows like Bonanza and The Andy Griffith Show. Saturdays were the most boring days of all since there was no physical therapy and no church, so once again I watched tv. But on Saturday I could watch shows about how to make the best pizza in the world, travel, mythbusters and reality shows, although there is some reality I don't care to repeat by watching it on the screen.
Now, watching some of these things on tv and wearing pajama pants have become a way for me to be able to feel comforted even more than usual. I guess they have become dear because the people from those places are dear to me and I may never see most of them again. It allows me to go back to a time where I felt surrounded by extraordinary caring and attention which was so important for healing. There is something to be said for finding ways to bring yourself out of the stresses of life and into healthy relaxation and I have mine.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


One year ago tomorrow, at approximately 11 AM on a peaceful Sunday morning traveling home from visiting our kids in Utah, I fell asleep while driving the car and we had our car accident. The car rolled 4 1/2 times, stopping upside down where I was pinned for about 40 minutes. I was rescued by skilled paramedics who carefully cut the car and lifted me out and into the ambulance where recovery began.
As I've thought about what I could write on this anniversary of mine, I found myself wanting to remember how it takes time to heal. One day, when it's all truly behind me, I want to remember this with compassion when I see others struggling.
I already have most of the feeling back in my face and the loss of feeling in my head may completely return. The scars on my hand, arm, hip and neck will eventually fade. The pains I get in my hip and the several places on my head, and the extra sensitivity on my skin even when the wind blows my hair, may subside. My energy may increase, the dizziness and spots before my eyes may go away altogether, and one day I might be able to turn my head without any pain or stiffness. Yes, these things may someday be gone, but I don't want to forget.
So yesterday when I was milling these thoughts around in my mind, I had a casual conversation with the young lady who cut my hair. She mentioned that my scar would show if she cut my hair very short, and that's where the subject of the accident came up. She told me that her father-in-law was in an accident like mine a few years ago. She said he had to wear a halo and then a neck brace. But she said that he was fully awake when they took him from the car and he panicked. He moved his head. That's all. He moved his head. And because he moved, he caused greater damage to his injuries and now he's a quadriplegic with no feeling from his neck down. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that really, there is so much more for me to remember than my little physical scars.
The chief message of the Book of Mormon is to "REMEMBER". To remember the Lord our God, to keep His commandments in order to show our gratitude for His goodness towards us and His many blessings. Yes, to always remember Him. So today of all days, this Sabbath Day, I want to recommit to showing my gratitude by making a greater effort to be obedient, and "to be a little kinder", more charitable, as President Hinckley admonished us on several occasions. I want to make my life one that was worth saving.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

More Training and Night Maneuvers

Here are some of the latest pics of what Mark's doing,
From F Company:

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Day To Feel Loved

This Mother's Day was especially nice. Suzanne and I attended church with Celeste in Patterson. We didn't have church until 1:00, so we had time to make individual quiches for lunch. Yum.
In Sacrament Meeting there were spacial talks about mother's Day and then each sister was given a tomato plant. When I told the bishop how excited I was at getting it, he semi-laughingly said, "Tell that to my wife. Now that she has found out it's not a flower, she'll probably have a talk with me about it when we get home!" But I really am grateful. I have a place for them right now and I'm getting them transplanted today!
In Sunday School the teacher played a DVD of the Tabernacle Choir singing, Turn Around. It's about a mother watching her little one grow up and how it all happens so quickly. It was very tender.
Relief Society was wonderful. With 5 Sundays in May, they used Mother's Day as the 5th Sunday. All the sisters attended with the Priesthood taking over in Primary and in YW. The table was beautiful, with flowers and pictures. There were talks and musical presentations including a mother and daughter singing a duet. After the program we were given a booklet wrapped with a delicate ribbon and a Hershey Kiss rose, and a lovely dessert garnished with a strawberry and leaf of mint. Everything that was done spoke powerfully of the value of women and truly made each sister feel special and loved.

It's Great To Be Eight!

Paige is now 8 years old, and we know what that means!
I love that in January her Ward had a special "It's Great To Be 8!" night for all the kids that would have their eighth birthday this year. They each received a packet with information about baptism like how to prepare, what it means to make a covenant, that they will need an interview with their bishop, etc. and then some activity pages like a word search. It also included a Faith In God booklet, and Activity Days or Cub Scout info.. Their parents also received a packet with info for them. Well...

Saturday was Paige's Big Day!

There were so many friends and family that the room hardly could contain the crowd. Grandpa and I gave the talks. My talk was on Baptism. I compared being baptized to taking a bath. Alma 7:14-16 explains how we must be baptized and have our sins washed away, and that He has power to cleanse us of all unrighteousness. The water represented getting baptized, the soap was for the Savior's Atonement (because we just don't get clean without it!) and the scrubbie means that we must act upon making changes to become better.The kids sang a song and Chandler sang a solo. Aunt Nancy played the piano. It was a lovely occasion.

Afterwards we had cake and then we went to Celeste's house to spend some time visiting. What a great day!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

How-To Do A Spring Detox

Just as the outside of our bodies need bathing every day or so, the inside needs cleansing from time to time as well, for the sake of washing away accumulated toxins from water, air, the environment, prescription drugs and even some of the foods we eat. Our Great Great Grandparents knew and understood the need for regular fasting as a pathway to a longer, healthier life, but over time this practice fell by the wayside. Now, much is understood again of it's tremendous value. I first learned about it from a book by Paul Bragg called, The Miracle Of Fasting. It's chock full of reasons why it's worth it to fast whether it's a total or partial fast. I am in the middle of a second 3-day fruit fast in 10 days and the migraines I've been having daily for about 6 weeks, are gone.

So, how do you do it and where do you start?

Well, as they say, different strokes for different folks. There are many ways to go about it. With a bit of research you can find a way that's right for you. I have gone on complete water fasts for 1-5 days. My sister Sheryl has done a 10 day fast of water with lemon juice sweetened with pure maple syrup. The word "fast" means just that; in other words "for fast results". And when we get sick and don't feel like eating, our body is telling us that we need to go without food. This allows our body to rest from the work of digestion so that it may use it's energy to get well.
Not all people can do a complete fast, though, so what do you do then? The next best things are juice fasting - only juice and water, and fruit fasting - eating only fruit and drinking fresh clean water. Remember that fruit is anything with a seed. Cucumbers, green beans, both winter and summer squash, tomatoes and bell peppers are a few examples of non-sweet fruits. Avocado and olives are fruits too, just limit the amount.
For some variety I include fresh/frozen fruits blended in the blender to make smoothies or "ice cream", warmed non-sweet fruits to make soup, stir-fried non-sweet fruits, and spaghetti squash with seasoned tomato sauce to make a pastaless, meatless "spaghetti". (I do take a little liberty by using onions, garlic and the smallest amounts of coconut oil or olive oil.)
Be aware of your body's needs as you fast. There is such a thing as cleansing too quickly. Our bodies can only handle so much. I believe God intended for us to ask Him for help with our individual health issues. No one knows you better than you and Him. Don't be afraid to follow your God-given instincts. He always gives the best.
Some of the non-sweet fruits include:
Bell Pepper
Green Beans
Hot Peppers
Snow Peas
Spaghetti Squash
Summer Squash-All types
Winter Squash-All types

Paul Bragg, avid about fasting, taught that regular cleanses over time was the only way to detox a lifetime of buildup. Once or twice just isn't enough. But anything we do to internally cleanse can add more healthy days, even years to our lives, helping us to preserve ourselves from the effects of old age and degenerative disease.
Use good judgement in how you proceed if you decide to try fasting and have never done it before or have been in ill health. Start slowly, perhaps with just one day. You may want to consult someone with experience and know-how, and once again, be prayerful and follow your gut instincts.
For more information about fasting:
The Miracle of Fasting, water, lemons,
fruit smoothies, fruit market.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

My $8 Rocking Chair

Another great yard sale find and a little bit of paint! I wish I'd taken a before picture but when I bought it, it looked something like this: And now it looks like this!